Closed I-75/71 bridge expected to reopen Dec. 23

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Nov. 20, 2020:

Closed I-71/75 bridge expected to reopen around Christmas
Truckers who rely on the Brent Spence Street Bridge to cross from Ohio into northern Kentucky and vice versa along I-71/75 will have to continue taking detours until about Christmas as repairs are made on the double-decker span that was damaged in a truck collision and fire last week.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear Monday said he expects the bridge that carries Interstates 75 and 71 over the Ohio River between Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati to be repaired and reopened to traffic by Dec. 23.

This image shows truckers’ principal detour routes over the Ohio as I-275 to the East and West of principal routes through Cincinnati.This image shows truckers’ principal detour routes over the Ohio as I-275 to the East and West of principal routes through Cincinnati.

Kentucky Secretary of Transportation Jim Gray said the bridge did not suffer any significant structural damage when two tractor-trailers collided Wednesday, Nov. 11 at about 2:30 a.m. One of the trucks carried potassium hydroxide, which caught fire. The blaze took more than two hours to extinguish.

Until repairs are completed, truckers and others will have to use one of several alternative routes. The detours include:

  • Through traffic traveling NB on I-75/71 from Kentucky is being detoured at I-275 WB to I-75 NB or I-275 EB to I-471 NB and then to I-71 NB
  • I-71 SB traffic is being detoured to I-471 SB and then to I-275 WB
  • I-75 SB traffic is being detoured to I-275 WB
  • Additional detour options in and around Cincinnati include I-471, I-71, I-74 and I-275, and U.S. 50, but expect heavier than normal traffic

Gray also signed an order Wednesday, Nov. 18, that contains penalties for truck drivers not following the detours and ending up on local streets.

“The intention is not to penalize drivers but to prohibit large trucks from clogging local streets, creating traffic hazards and congestion,” Gray said. “Diverting drivers onto our established detours will keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible during this limited bridge closure.”

Convoy updates drop-and-hook program
Digital brokerage Convoy announced this week updates to its drop-and-hook service, Convoy Go:

*Predictive trailer routing will proactively route empty trailers to Convoy’s shipper customers’ facilities. Convoy says the program uses a machine learning model to predict weeks in advance how many trailers will be needed at shippers’ facilities across the country for use in the drop-and-hook program.

*Automated reloads with batched routes, which Convoy  launched last year, now will be available in its drop-and-hook program. The automated reloads and batched routes options will allow carriers to combine three or more runs into a single multi-stop job within the Convoy app. In addition, automated reloads can now combine multiple drop and live loads into a single trip.

*Lastly, the new Smarter Trailers program, aimed at its shipper customers, will provide visibility into where a freight shipment is, if the shipment is on time, if a trailer is ready to load, if a trailer needs maintenance and how many trailers are inbound to any  one facility. The system allows Convoy to make adjustments at any point, the company says, including up to the time a trailer is preloaded. Convoy has equipped all of its trailers with telematics systems — enabling the Smart Trailers platform.

Starship 2.0: Testing of the Shell Starship 2.0 truck has begun in preparation for another coast-to-coast run in the coming year. The official 2021 efficiency run will build on key takeaways from the initial program in 2018 and introduce new, innovative technologies. In that first run, the truck completed a six-day, 2,410-mile trip along Interstate 10 from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida.Starship 2.0: Testing of the Shell Starship 2.0 truck has begun in preparation for another coast-to-coast run in the coming year. The official 2021 efficiency run will build on key takeaways from the initial program in 2018 and introduce new, innovative technologies. In that first run, the truck completed a six-day, 2,410-mile trip along Interstate 10 from San Diego to Jacksonville, Florida.

OTR Capital offered this video salute to America’s truckers

The video documents an event the company held in Lithia Springs, Georgia, at a scale house to deliver lunch provided by Chik-Fil-A to drivers. 

Loadsmart lands $90M in latest investment
Digital freight broker Loadsmart announced Friday it has raised $90 million in Series C funding, which includes investments from TFI International (No. 10 in the CCJ Top 250) and ocean shipping giant Maersk. Loadsmart says the latest round of investment cash will be used to expand its services around freight mode offerings to its shipper customers and optimize its freight pricing models.

The company says that its revenues have grown 250% since January. “As the secular shift from analogue to digital has continued to accelerate throughout the logistics industry, in which volatility has become the norm, we are proud to help our customers leverage Loadsmart’s technology to secure capacity and exceptional service,” said Ricardo Salgado, Loadsmart co-founder and CEO.

Three new Love’s adds 300 truck parking spaces in 3 states
Love’s Travel Stops announced this week the opening of three new locations in Illinois, Georgia and Arkansas, adding a total of 313 truck parking spaces to the company’s network. The new stores are located in Marion, Illinois, off I-57; Cordele, Georgia, off I-75; and West Memphis, Arkansas, off I-40.

The Marion, Illinois, location offers 119 truck parking spaces, a Bojangles restaurant, 10 diesel bays, seven showers, Love’s Truck Care with on-site Speedco and more.

The Cordele, Georgia, Love’s offers 98 truck parking spaces, a Bojangles restaurant, 10 diesel bays, seven showers, Love’s Truck Care with on-site Speedco, and more.

Finally, the West Memphis location features 96 truck parking spaces, Godfather’s Pizza and Subway restaurants, 12 diesel bays, compressed natural gas, and more.

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